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How To Taper Off Alcohol Risks of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey

When that person cuts out alcohol, there is a period when their brain hasn't yet received the message and still overproduces the stimulating chemicals. With alcohol out of the equation, though, these chemicals cause withdrawal symptoms. When someone drinks alcohol for a prolonged period of time, their brain chemistry changes.

  • However, even the best-designed tapers can put you at risk for alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
  • Essentially, when an individual drinks, the brain amplifies certain activities to counterbalance the depressive effect alcohol has on it.
  • Choosing to taper off alcohol is an admirable decision and a step in the right direction.
  • Always keep some extra alcohol available in the event you experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Start by estimating how much you drink on a daily basis—and be honest with yourself.

If someone close to you is willing to help you, actively involve them in your planning and preparation to stop drinking. Here at Aftermath Addiction Treatment Center, we’re proud of the fact that recovering individuals created our facility. Alcoholism is a chronic disease, and relapse is often a part of recovery. Like any chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, alcoholism can be treated but not cured. A relapse is often a sign that the current treatment program needs to be updated or changed because it has become ineffective. The final treatment is the support of other individuals with AUD through 12-step groups.

Relapse and AUD

But, with a little prior knowledge on how to taper off alcohol, adequate planning and professional consultation from a healthcare provider, it can certainly be done. Talk therapy is an important part of treatment for alcohol use disorder, but Dr. Streem says just about anyone who is making a life change, like quitting drinking, can benefit from therapy. Dr. Streem suggests starting with the World Health Organization’s Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). It can be a particularly helpful way to help you get a clearer understanding of your drinking habits and your relationship with alcohol.

  • The process of tapering yourself off alcohol begins with planning.
  • We personalize every aspect of your detox and offer counseling, treatment plans, nutrition services and options for continuing rehab treatment at The Recovery Village Ridgefield.
  • Both alcohol and acid lower inhibitions and increase impulsivity, which is why there’s a big risk that an accident could occur.
  • Slowly decreasing the amount you drink over time can spare your body from withdrawal symptoms.

But if heavy drinkers cut back on their average number of drinks too quickly, they may be at risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. The HAMS tapering guide suggests dropping your consumption https://ecosoberhouse.com/ to 16 drinks the first day if you were drinking more than that, and then reducing your consumption by two drinks per day. The taper schedule below is slightly less aggressive than that.

Challenges of Tapering Off Alcohol

After all, the point of a taper is to avoid alcohol withdrawal. If you begin to have withdrawal symptoms during your taper, this is a sign that your taper may be going too fast and that you need to slow it down. If your symptoms worsen at any point, it is always safer to maintain a steady level of drinking and seek medical help than to push on with further reductions. And it’s always OK to pause your planned reductions while you regain a feeling of stability. Realistically, you may still experience some withdrawal symptoms as you taper off alcohol. You might feel milder physical symptoms, such as sweating, shakes, headaches and nausea.

  • Find a reason to stay sober and keep that in mind as you go through this process.
  • So, if you normally have 6 beers a day, you could be done tapering within one week.
  • At a rehab clinic, an alcohol withdrawal taper can be provided to slowly get you back to normal life.
  • Psychological addiction, while rare, is also a distinct possibility.
  • In this study on tapering with a benzo, about 1% of patients had a seizure after completing their taper.
  • Cutting down your alcohol intake may not be as easy as it sounds.
  • After all, the point of a taper is to avoid alcohol withdrawal.

Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a mental health issue. You've been conditioning your brain to work on alcohol, and over time, its structure has physically changed[2]. Overcoming this with sheer willpower is going to be difficult, but it can be done. It's important to call out that withdrawal symptoms don't just affect https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/how-to-taper-off-alcohol/ people with alcohol use disorder (formerly known as alcoholism) who quit drinking. As a Certified Professional Recovery Coach, I often speak with people who want to wean off alcohol. The thought of abstaining from alcohol completely can feel daunting, and in some cases, it can even be dangerous without medical supervision.

Strategies For Weaning Off Alcohol

However, try not to have too many firm expectations, as symptoms can continue for multiple weeks in some people. Seizures can also occur within the first 24 to 48 hours, although these are less likely to occur in people with less severe alcohol dependency. Withdrawal seizures can be a sign of delirium tremens, which can occur as soon as 48 hours after a person’s last drink. Substituting a prescription drug for alcohol should only happen with the help of a medical professional. No one should ever attempt a substitution taper with prescription medication unless their doctor specifically prescribed it for that purpose in a medical detox program.

Only about 2% of drinkers in this group has alcohol use disorder. Heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause brain damage and other serious problems in the baby. Because it is not yet known whether any amount of alcohol is safe for a developing baby, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not drink.

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It's important to understand what to look out for and what to expect. Some withdrawal is normal, and some symptoms can be potentially life-threatening. My first recommendation is to seek professional help at an inpatient rehab facility, a dedicated detox center, or, in severe cases, the emergency room. Gathering a supportive network of friends and family members, as well as an addiction support group or even an inpatient rehabilitation center, can help you through this process. Individuals should be prepared to be uncomfortable during this period and have someone on call in case medical help is needed. This is the period in which delirium tremens is most likely to occur, which requires immediate medical attention.

Contact us today to learn more about the insurance we accept and find an alcohol addiction treatment program that can work well for your situation. Predicable drinking makes it easier to notice if alcohol withdrawal symptoms are emerging. The earlier you notice that you feel unwell, the quicker you can take corrective action. We are dedicated to transforming the despair of addiction into a purposeful life of confidence, self-respect and happiness.